[Edu-sig] recap (GOSCON week in Portland)

kirby urner kirby.urner at gmail.com
Mon Nov 1 18:14:26 CET 2010


I just got Steve Holden (Holden Web, PSF Chairman) to the airport (PDX).

Steve was here for GOSCON (government + open source) which is
organized by Open Source Labs (OSL), Deb Bryant in particular.

Themes around open government (there's an O'Reilly book by that title)
include:  open source / open data.

Government (at all levels) is naturally a source of open data.  The
developer community (private sector, non-governmental orgs etc.) are
avid consumers of (some of) this data.

The ideal "smart school" would host a number of civic-minded
applications that provided students with access to interesting data
sets, many of them having to do with the local environment.


Clearly we're talking about GIS (geographic information systems).

In the forefront of using GIS to inform the public policy making
process is Ecotrust, also with headquarters here in Portland.

I don't know if Ecotrust had a footprint at this year's GOSCON, where
I was myself a peripheral player, in support of Holden Web.

When leading a pilot on computer science and related skills for
Portland Public Schools (Winterhaven PPS), I was asked to give it a
GIS flavor.

This involved using Google Earth and looking at KML files, the flavor
of XML written as a result of sticking "push pins" into the map.

Where does XML fit into a K-12 curriculum?  Currently almost nowhere.


Holden Web is hoping to produce a number of events that will boost the
open source / open data aspect of public / private collaborations.

I continue to suggest eduPycon (edu.pycon) as a promising genre,
recalling conversations at Pycon with Jeff Rush and others.

Another puzzle piece here is simulations both with and without avatars.


Yet another puzzle piece is the science-minded reverie on LCDs,
something to look at when sipping a coffee and studying, perhaps with

These may be public LCDs in student unions, branded "smart bars" (e.g.
Portland's Backspace), or these could be streaming to your dorm room.

Instead of sports / news / weather, picture studying organic chemistry
and having a steady stream of relevant animations coming your way,
reminding you of key content.

StudyStreams [tm] might be your source point.  With the occasional
advertising, this could be a free service, with pay versions more
specifically customized.

The open source business plans for all this have been filed under
Coffee Shops Network for those interested.


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